Eamon Doyle is one of those sound people I’ve half known for years. A bona fide music head either through his D1 Recording days or his highly inspirational DEAF music festival. Then the music died or its volume was considerably lessened for a certain generation. Shops closed, people faded out of view or simply had kids, moved away or took up reputable jobs to pay mortgages. Eamon returned to a love of his – photography. He started documenting the shuffle and strut of elderly folk as they wended their way around the North inner city. Leaning on his family connections with Parnell Street and Moore Street since the late 50’s, there was a certain reverence and respect for those who never knew they were being framed. The launch happened in The Library Project and it was applauded as a great project. However, it’s photography. The usual story is you sell a few books and a few prints, get a few reviews and maybe even get the exhibition up somewhere else for a bit. This isn’t click bait territory but it half deserves the WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WILL AMAZE YOU headline. The highly distinguished photographer Martin Parr managed to get his hands on i and wrote the following.
“Street photography is one of the most difficult genres to find a new vision within. From time to time a photographer finds a voice and makes an original contribution to this development, and often a book celebrates that achievement. I am thinking of the likes of Bruce Gilden’s Facing New York and Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s MOMA book. So when this book by Eamonn Doyle arrived at my doorstep I was quite taken aback. This unknown photographer had shot on the streets of Dublin, often from behind the subjects, and produced a most lyrical set of photographs and a wonderful book. Self-published, with an edition of 750, it has to be one of this year’s sleepers as this compelling contribution to street photography makes its mark.”
That limited edition turned into a collectors item within the photographic world. He exhibited at Paris Photo and gained coveted representation by the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London. So he’s back!
As part of the Photo Ireland Festival, Doyle launches On. This time Doyle is takes a monochrome look at the new multi-cultural faces of our city. There’s a heightened defiance in the eyes and faces of his subject matters. They are not striving to exist or fit into a cultural construct. They are purposely moving. Where to? We’re not so sure but this is by no means a sop to the new multi-cultural landscape. It’s almost as if the title is taken from the notion of ‘Game On’.
This is a stunning selection of images. There’s a passion and intensity which rises from these images, a curiosity provoked, a consideration raised but never answered. This is the work of a mature photographer confident that he too can stand out and still be part of something very special, namely the city we live in. With pop and punchy design work on the accompanying book by long-term friend and design collaborator Niall Sweeney from Pony, there’s another collectors item in the making.